In recent years, cable and internet access has become increasingly popular in America. In some ways, these services have even become necessary for daily life. More and more Americans are working, learning and communicating online nowadays, but these important utilities can be too expensive for some families to afford. On average, many households are expected to pay nearly $200 each month for these additional services by the year 2020. Unfortunately, this expense is far too much for many households to pay for these optional but valuable amenities.
However, there are a number of methods you can use to save on your cable and internet costs without needing to cut off these services. Many providers offer discounted service on their cable and internet package deals that can be significantly cheaper than the average cost that most households will pay. If you are unwilling to switch to a new provider, you may still be able to save significantly on your monthly bill by altering your current package instead.
Streaming services like Hulu and Netflix have gained major popularity in recent years due to their library of TV shows and movies that you can access instantly. While this can be a good substitute in some cases, many Americans still want to watch their favorite TV programs live when they first air. It can be too costly for some households to purchase both internet and cable, so an affordable alternative is to purchase internet access from a provider and subscribe to a TV streaming service.
Fortunately, there are many popular providers, like Sling and DirecTV, which offer customers a chance to stream live TV. A Sling TV streaming package offers customers approximately 29 to 45 channels to view for the price of $20 to $25 each month. DirecTV also offers TV streaming packages that include between 60 and 120 channels for a price ranging from $35 to $70 each month. TV streaming may be a money-saving opportunity if your cable bill costs more than either of these plans.
If you are unwilling to purchase a TV streaming plan or you do not require so many channels, it may be a better option to stick with the local channels that are provided free of charge. These channels can be accessed as long as you have an antenna. You can use tools provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in order to discover which local broadcast are available to you in your area.
The FCC offers a government program called Lifeline, which serves to provide low-income households with access to affordable telephone or internet services. Eligible participants who qualify to receive Lifeline can benefit from a $7.25 discount each month for their phone services in addition to a $9.25 benefit each month for broadband access.
In order to meet the criteria to qualify from Lifeline benefits from the FCC, a household’s income must be at or lower than 135 percent of the current federal poverty level (FPL). The income limits for this program may differ based on the size of a household.
Households with children in school may be eligible to receive discounted internet and cable services from a number of different providers in their areas. Some of the following companies may offer these discounts to residents:
Generally, a family will need to be beneficiaries of different public programs to receive benefits. For example, they can be enrolled in the:
Furthermore, households who are residing in public housing that is provided through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may also qualify. However, you should confirm this information with Lifeline representatives.
Note: The specific qualification requirements for discounted internet and cable access can differ by provider and area.
Some consumers may be locked into a two-year contract or simply do not want to change providers. However, these consumers still have a few options for saving money with their current internet service providers. A few minor tweaks could lead to significant savings. Here are some popular strategies for reducing the cost of cable and internet access: